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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 18: Fractured Loyalties and Bravo Fleet: Frontier Day

Hope Among Friends

USS Arimathea
Stardate 24014.12
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A deathly silence had long since replaced the familiar hum of the small Runabouts engines. Noli, alone in the cockpit, had steeled herself for the inevitable. Almost an hour earlier her assimilated counterpart, who had been ‘secured’ in the aft section of the ship, had woken and begun causing chaos in the ship’s systems. Noli had thwarted her as much as possible, but the technological expertise of the Borg proved too much. Life support was dwindling, and the cold grip of fear settled deep in the pit of the Bajoran’s stomach.

Huddled in her chair, hugging her knees tight to her chest, the Blonde Bombshell found herself worrying about her friends. Blonde Bombshell. It was a nickname she’d heard and always assumed had originated from Flyboy, but she’d never had it confirmed. It made her smile though, and why shouldn’t it? To think that someone found you that attractive would make anyone happy, surely? Even if it was Flyboy. Then her thoughts drifted to the newest member of her family. Dear, sweet Or’uil. He was so naive, so trusting, so vulnerable. She knew he’d been through so much in recent months, and now this? She’d become an older sibling to him; protective and nurturing. How was he coping? Or Prida for that matter? She was probably the one most likely to be able to look after herself, but it was no secret that Prida did her best work alongside her Bajoran colleague. Prida and Noli went together like peanut butter and jelly, sausage and mash, or some other concoction Flyboy had introduced them to. Hell, they went together like Nazir and Vulcan spiced tea, like Zinn and pancakes, like… Picard and earl grey! And now, she’d probably never see her sidekick, her best friend, ever again.

Lost in her thoughts and fears, Noli was violently and abruptly pulled from her daydreaming by the sound of banging and clamouring at the back of the craft’s control centre. She turned to see Ensign Udraa, assimilated and wearing the vacant expression of a drone, relentlessly trying to break through the forcefield separating them. Panic surged through Noli’s veins as she realized that the forcefield would not hold indefinitely. Udraa’s strength, augmented by the Borg’s biological enhancements, was far beyond that of a normal humanoid.

‘This is it,’ she thought. The end. She had sent out a distress call almost an hour ago, pleading for help not just for herself but also for Hathaway, which was facing its own battle against the Borg. Noli had held on for as long as possible, hoping that someone out there would hear her desperate plea for assistance. But no one had come.

The forcefield flickered and weakened as Udraa’s relentless assault continued. The forcefield rippled under the pounding fists of the young Ensign into it eventually collapsed. Noli braced herself as Udraa surged forward, lunging in an effort to grab, and ultimately eliminate, her Bajoran senior officer, but a sudden flash of blue light engulfed the blonde, her body dematerialising and taking her out of harm’s way… for now.


Gasping for breath once her molecules had been reassembled, Noli looked around to find herself on the transporter pad of another vessel. A voice from nearby drew her back into the room, a voice she had not heard in a while, and one that almost caused her to collapse to her knees in disbelief.

“It’s alright Noli,” the voice spoke calmly as its owner reached out to help the woman from the transporter pad, “you’re safe here.”

Gazing up at the face of her rescuer, the Bajoran could feel tears forming in the corners of her eyes. “Giarvar…” she whispered, before pouncing on the man and flinging her arms around him. Relief washed over her as she realized that she really had been rescued, and not just by anybody. It was almost poetic that the man who had come to her rescue was the man she had succeeded as Hathaway’s first officer.

Although slightly taken aback at first, Captain Giarvar Kauhn reciprocated the hug, holding the woman safely in his arms until she was ready to release. He tried his best to soothe and console her with a slight rocking motion in between glances at the security officers who had accompanied him to the transporter room. A look that it was alright for them to leave him with his friend.

“Where are we?” Noli asked when she finally released the Trill from her grasp.

“Aboard the Arimathea,” Giarvar smiled, helping her from the platform and guiding her, gently, from the transporter room. “I was given command about a day after I left Hathaway. Met up with her near Starbase 72 and were on the edge of the McAllister Nebula when all hell broke loose,” the Trill revealed, his expression changing as he started to make reference to the events that happened earlier in the day.

Noli stopped dead in her tracks. “Borg… you don’t have any?”

Giarvar shook his head, causing the Bajoran to let out a sigh of relief. “Being a small science ship has paid off,” he smiled, “We’ve analysed communications and sensor data we managed to obtain in the last few hours. We determined that we were too far away when the signal was first transmitted. As we’ve grown closer, we’ve been hyper-vigilant, but so far no signs of any assimilation of our younger crew.”

Together, the pair entered the turbo lift at the end of the hall and rode it the short distance to the ship’s bridge. Arimathea had heard her distress call and come to her aid, and for that, she was overwhelmed. She couldn’t help thinking about her ship though. “We must help the Hathaway,” Noli urged, her voice filled with urgency. “They need our assistance, and time is running out.”

Emerging from the turbo lift, Giarvar led his friend into the command centre. “We have no idea what will happen if we even get close to an affected starship. There is a real possibility that they could turn on us, or transmit some kind of signal that will assimilate our young. We should head to Avalon and see what we can do from there,” he suggested as they walked towards the sizeable transparent screen at the back of the bridge where two other officers stood.

“I wouldn’t advise that, Captain…” one of the officers spoke up, turning her head from the display to nod in greeting to Noli. “Commander Nisea, first officer. I’ve heard a lot about you, Commander Noli,” the Arimathea’s XO grinned, offering a scaled, but surprisingly dry hand to the Bajoran. “This is Lieutenant Iersa, chief of security.”

Following a swift round of pleasantries, Giarvar folded his arms across his chest. “Alright Number One,” the Trill looked at the Syllian, “why shouldn’t we go to Avalon?”

Nisea nodded at the display on the transparent screen. It was a map with all manner of glowing markers. “Avalon’s been compromised. We’re not sure how considering we’ve got several reports of ships in the area not succumbing to the signal, yet it appears Avalon has,” she concluded. On the display, Avalon’s single dot marker began to blink red, as did every other vessel or facility known to be compromised. Several blue ones apparently indicated assets not yet affected, such as Arimathea.

“We need to help Udraa on the runabout,” the Commander told, grabbing Giarvar’s arm gently, but the slow shake of the head from Iersa told her what she needed to know.

“The runabout exploded about two minutes ago,” the security chief told, “apparently as a result of engine issues. I’m sorry, Commander.”

Noli took a moment, a deep breath and the closing of her eyes was all she needed to try and compose herself again.

“Where’s Hathaway now?” The Captain enquired, looking over the display.

“She’s here,” the tactical chief, a human named Deakon Iersa, pointed to a new, flashing indicator. “Up until about ten minutes ago, we were still detecting some communications traffic; location buoys, distress signals. But she’s been radio silent ever since,” he explained.

Noli shifted uncomfortably. She didn’t need to be good with people to know what the grim expressions on their faces meant. She’d been monitoring her own sensors while she could, too.

“No,” she shook her head, “nah uh.” She put her hands on her hips and started bouncing from foot to foot in frustration. “I know what you’re thinking, but she’s still there. She’s one of the most advanced ships in the fleet, with a kick-ass crew. There’s no way they’ve been destroyed.” She watched as Giarvar shook his head in response and weaved his way to the blue, leather chair in the middle of the command room.

“Giarvar… please,” the Bajoran pleaded, stepping over to the small rail and leaning over it to get closer to her friend. “We can’t just give up on our friends,” she implored him.

Pursing his lips, the Captain pondered what she was saying for a few moments, before finally making a decision. But once he turned and made eye contact with her and saw the tears in her eyes, he knew he couldn’t say no. How could he possibly resist the Blonde Bombshell, his very first executive officer (albeit temporary).

“Helm,” he barked before turning away from the Bajoran, “set a course for the Hathaway, maximum warp. Lieutenant Iersa, maintain full security procedures. Any sign of any sort of capitulation to this signal, we reverse course.”

“Aye captain,” the officers around the bridge responded in unison, instantly carrying out the Trill’s bidding.

Joining the Captain in the command pit, Commander Nisea took her chair to the right of her commander and then gestured to the vacant seat to his left. “Commander Noli,” she smiled, “Counsellor Duran is otherwise engaged, so the chair’s yours if you want it,” the Syllian told, then returned to her own duties at the console attached to her seat.

Rounding the rail and consoles behind the command pit, the Bajoran sheepishly took the offered chair. As she got comfortable, Giarvar reached out and placed a gentle hand on top of hers, giving it a reassuring squeeze, all the while he remained laser-focused on the view screen before them as the image changed from one of static stars to streaks flashing by at incredible speeds.

All they could do now was wait, and hope that Noli’s faith in ship and crew had not been tragically misplaced.

Comments

  • Yay! I got very excited when I saw the location tag for this chapter! Once again, you’re giving off very excellent zombie movie vibes with the assimilated Udraa behind the forcefield: a relentless force of destruction that can be temporarily contained but not stopped. Loved getting a chance to see some introspective Noli here (and I agree with Noli! she and Prida are a great pair!). Seeing a character as stalwart as Noli react so strongly to Giarvar when she was rescued helped me feel the emotional weight of that scene. I like that he had some reasonable hesitation in wanting to go to the aid of the Hathaway but in the end, couldn’t say no to Noli.

    August 17, 2023